Cutting Tools

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An Asset is something that is associated with the manufacturing process that is not a component of a device, can be removed without detriment to the function of the device, and can be associated with other devices during their lifecycle. An asset does not have computational capabilities, but may carry information in some media physically attached to the asset.

Figure 1: Assets Schema

Concrete examples of Assets are things like Cutting Tools, Workholding Systems, and Fixtures. This page will go over the modeling of Cutting Tools and the management and communication of asset data using MTConnect.


Cutting Tool

A Cutting Tool is an assembly of items for removing material from a work-piece through a shearing action at the defined cutting edge or edges of the Cutting Item. A Cutting Tool can be a single item or an assembly of one or more Adaptive Items, a Tool Item and several Cutting Items on a Tool Item.

MTConnect will adopt the ISO 13399 structure when formulating the vocabulary for cutting tool geometries and structure. MTConnect will focus on the application of the cutting tool and cutting items. At this time we are only concerned with two aspects of the cutting tool, the Cutting Tool and the Cutting Item. The Tool Item, Adaptive Item, and Assembly Item will be covered in the CuttingToolDefinition section of this page since this section contains the full ISO 13399 information about a Cutting Tool.

Figure 2: Cutting Tool Parts
Figure 3: Cutting Tool Composition

Figure 2 illustrates the parts of a cutting tool. The cutting tool is the aggregate of all the components and the cutting item is the part of the tool that removes the material from the workpiece. These are the primary focus of MTConnect.

Figure 3 provides another view of the cutting tool composition model. The adaptive items and tool items will be used for measurements, but will not be modeled as separate entities. When we are referencing the cutting tool we are referring to the entirety of the assembly and when we provide data regarding the cutting item we are referencing each individual item as illustrated on the left of the previous diagram.

Figure 4: Cutting Tool, Tool Item, and Cutting Item
Figure 5: Cutting Tool, Tool Item, and Cutting Item

Figures 4 and 5 further illustrate the components of the cutting tool. As we compose the Tool Item, Cutting Item, Adaptive Item, we get a Cutting Tool. The Tool Item, Adaptive Item, and Assembly Item will only be in the CuttingToolDefinition section that will contain the full ISO 13399 information.

The above diagrams use the ISO 13399 codes for each of the measurements. These codes will be translated into the MTConnect vocabulary as illustrated below. The measurements will have a maximum, minimum, and nominal value representing the tolerance of allowable values for this dimension.

Figure 6: Cutting Tool Measurements

The MTConnect standard will not define the entire geometry of the cutting tool, but will provide the information necessary to use the tool in the manufacturing process. Additional information can be added to the definition of the cutting tool by means of schema extensions.

Additional diagrams will reference these dimensions by their codes that will be defined in the measurement tables. The codes are consistent with the codes used in ISO 13399 and have been standardized. MTConnect will use the full text name for clarity in the XML document.

Figure 7: Cutting Tool Asset Structure
Figure 8: Cutting Tool Schema

Cutting Tool Attributes:

Attribute Description Occurrence
timestamp The time this asset was last modified. Always given in UTC. The timestamp MUST be provided in UTC (Universal Time Coordinate, also known as GMT). This is the time the asset data was last modified. 1
assetId The unique identifier of the instance of this tool. The unique identifier of the instance of this tool. This will be the same as the toolId and serialNumber in most cases. The assetId SHOULD be the combination of the toolId and serialNumber as in toolId.serialNumber or an equivalent implementation dependent identification scheme. 1
serialNumber The unique identifier for this assembly. The unique identifier for this assembly. This is defined as an XML string type and is implementation dependent. 1
toolId The identifier for the class of cutting tool. The identifier for a class of cutting tools. This is defined as an XML string type and is implementation dependent. 1
deviceUuid The device’s UUID that supplied this data. This optional element References to the UUID attribute given in the device element. This can be any series of numbers and letters as defined by the XML type NMTOKEN. 1
manufacturers The manufacturers of the cutting tool. An optional attribute referring to the manufacturers of this tool, for this element, this will reference the Tool Item and Adaptive Items specifically. The Cutting Items manufacturers’ will be an attribute of the CuttingItem elements. The representation will be a comma (,) delimited list of manufacturer names. This can be any series of numbers and letters as defined by the XML type string. 0..1

Cutting Tool Elements

The elements associated with this cutting tool are given below. Each element will be described in more detail below and any possible values will be presented with full definitions. The elements MUST be provided in the following order as prescribed by XML. At least one of CuttingToolDefinition or CuttingToolLifeCycle MUST be supplied.

Element Description Occurrence
Description An element that can contain any descriptive content. This can contain configuration information and manufacturer specific details. This element is defined to contain mixed content and XML elements can be added to extend the descriptive semantics of MTConnect. 0..1
CuttingToolDefinition Reference to a ISO 13399 0..1
CuttingToolLifeCycle MTConnect data regarding the use phase of this tool. 0..1


The description MAY contain mixed content, meaning that an additional XML element or plain text may be provided as part of the content of the description tag. Currently the description contains no additional attributes.


Figure 9: Cutting Tool Definition

The CuttingToolDefinition contains the detailed structure of the cutting tool. The information contained in this element will be static during its lifecycle. Currently we are referring to the external ISO 13399 standard to provide the complete definition and composition of the cutting tool.

CuttingToolDefinition Attributes:

Attribute Description Occurrence
format Format – EXPRESS, XML, TEXT, or UNDEFINED. Default: XML 0..1


The format attribute describes the expected representation of the enclosed data. If no value is given, the assumed format will be XML.

Value Description
XML The default value for the definition. The content will be an XML document.
EXPRESS The document will confirm to the ISO 10303 standard. STEP-NC part 21 file formats.
TEXT The document will be a text representation of the tool data.
UNDEFINED The document will be provided in an undefined format.

CuttingToolDefinition Elements:

The only acceptable cutting tool definition at present is ISO 13399. Additional formats MAY be considered in the future.

ISO 13399

The ISO 13399 data MUST be presented in either XML (ISO 10303-28) or EXPRESS format (ISO 10303-21). An XML schema will be preferred as this will allow for easier integration with the MTConnect XML tools. EXPRESS will also be supported, but software tools will need to be provided or made available for handling this data representation.

There will be the root element of the ISO13399 document when XML is used. When EXPRESS is used the XML element will be replaced by the text representation.


Figure 10: Cutting Tool Life Cycle

The life cycle refers to the data pertaining the the application or the use of the tool. This data is provided by various devices, machine tool, presetters, and statistical process control applications. Life cycle data will not remain static, but will change periodically when a tool is used or measured. The life cycle has three conceptual parts; tool and cutting item identity, properties, and measurements. A measurement is defined as a constrained value that is reported in defined units and as a W3C floating point format.

The CuttingToolLifeCycle contains data for the entire tool assembly. The specific cutting items that are part of the CuttingToolLifeCycle are contained in the CuttingItems element. Each cutting item has similar properties as the assembly; identity, properties, and measurements.

CuttingToolLifeCycle Elements:

The elements associated with this cutting tool are given below. Each element will be described in more detail below and any possible values will be presented with full definitions. The elements MUST be provided in the following order as prescribed by XML.

Element Description Occurrence
CutterStatus The status of the this assembly. Can be one more of the following values: NEW, AVAILABLE, UNAVAILABLE, ALLOCATED, UNALLOCATED, MEASURED, RECONDITIONED, NOT_REGISTERED, USED, EXPIRED, BROKEN, or UNKNOWN. 1
ReconditionCount The number of times this cutter has been reconditioned. 0..1
ToolLife The cutting tool life as related to this assembly 0..1
Location The location this tool now resides in. 0..1
ProgramToolGroup The tool group this tool is assigned in the part program. 0..1
ProgramToolNumber The number of the tool as referenced in the part program. 0..1
ProcessSpindleSpeed The constrained process spindle speed for this tool 0..1
ProcessFeedRate The constrained process feed rate for this tool in mm/s. 0..1
ConnectionCodeMachineSide Identifier for the capability to connect any component of the cutting tool together, except assembly items, on the machine side. Code: CCMS 0..1
Measurements A collection of measurements for the tool assembly. 0..1
CuttingItems An optional set of individual cutting items. 0..1


The elements of the CutterStatus element can be a combined set of Status elements. The standard allows any set of statuses to be combined, but only certain combinations make sense. A cutting tool SHOULD not be both NEW and USED at the same time. There are no rules in the schema to enforce this, but this is left to the implementer.

Figure 11: CutterStatus

The following combinations MUST NOT occur:

  • UNKNOWN MUST NOT be used with any other status.
  • ALLOCATED and UNALLOCATED MUST NOT be used together.
  • AVAILABLE and UNAVAILABLE MUST NOT be used together.
  • All other combinations are allowed.
Element Description Occurrence
Status The status of the cutting tool. There can be multiple Status elements. 1...INF


These are the values for the status of the cutting tool:

Value Description
NEW A new tool that has not been used or first use. Marks the start of the tool history.
AVAILABLE Indicates the tool is available for use. If this is not present, the tool is currently not ready to be used
UNAVAILABLE Indicates the tool is unavailable for use in metal removal. If this is not present, the tool is currently not ready to be used
ALLOCATED Indicates if this tool is has been committed to a device for use and is not available for use in any other device. If this is not present, this tool has not been allocated for this device and can be used by another device
UNALLOCATED Indicates this Cutting Tool has not been committed to a process and can be allocated.
MEASURED The tool has been measured.
RECONDITIONED The cutting tool has been reconditioned. See ReconditionCount for the number of times this cutter has been reconditioned.
USED The tool is in process and has remaining tool life.
EXPIRED The cutting tool has reached the end of its useful life.
BROKEN Premature tool failure.
NOT_REGISTERED This cutting tool cannot be used until it is entered into the system.
UNKNOWN The cutting tool is an indeterminate state. This is the default value.